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[Warmer Weather, Newer Boundaries and Older Music]

[I’m feeling content. Currently have a Fallout: New Vegas ambience video on loop in the background. Given that I’m currently working nights, I have my afternoons to get errands done and work on things I like to do. I feel focused. I’m not where I was over the holidays; my lowest point was on New Year’s Eve. That feels like a decade ago already.

Being I’m in a good place, I’m also trying to draw boundaries as a means to keep myself centered. I’ve been piecing together a few things recently that may fall under OCD. I’ve written about how I’ve had “episodes of mindless thinking” in my life. I had one my fall semester of my Sophomore year of College, and one my fall semester of Junior year. It’s a couple levels above just “anxiety”, it’s like my head does it’s own cycles in those periods. OCD Episodes are episodes where obsessive thinking becomes bothersome and excessive. According to my research, they last on average 6-12 months (for me, it’s usually 4-6 months). I’m accepting that I likely have a genuine case of OCD. Thinking back, in 6th grade I was obsessively afraid of vomiting for a few months. I believe that was an episode, as well as my behavior over the holidays as well. Even outside of episodes, there was always a tendency to ruminate and be obsessive in my thinking. Nowadays, however, I am better equipped to manage this. I've dealt with a lot of my issues and can feel the difference.

These are labels, that while are helpful, I don’t like to cling to. I’m not a doctor, I don’t like to self-diagnose myself. I talked about Religious Trauma Syndrome a while back, and again it was merely a point of reference for me to distinguish how I feel about things. I don’t like to put myself under these labels I didn’t make: it is what it is, it’s something I deal with (whatever it is) and that’s about all the consideration I put into it. I had some trauma from growing up in the closet. I struggle with what seems to be OCD. There’s always a fucking storm, but I’m not the storm.

I’m learning to draw boundaries to protect myself. I know who I am, I always did, and I’m angry I was a mess for years that kept me from being there like I wanted to be. I wish I could erase “Songs for the Millennium”. I hate those songs. They only showcase me in that mindless state in an environment that I think made that state worse. “Napalm” and “The Colors” will haunt me for the rest of my life. In my mind, I’ve disowned those songs and have moved on. That project was not the beginning, however. The real beginning of my musical works was around 2014 when I had just turned 16.

My very first project was called “The Domino Effect”. The cover was a zany drawing of the face of my sister's cat, Buster, that she made on a mini chalkboard I had when I was younger. The artist name I used was "Buster" in an attempt to pass it off as a band even though it was just me. It was cringy, kind of silly. I was like, 15, and was probably trying to not be a hard ass for once so please give me a break. The music I took seriously, however. I shared it in 2014, made a second EP in 2015 titled “Nurovia” before deleting them from the public at some point in college. I forgot about them over the years. I told myself that those songs didn’t count and wanted to forget them. I knew they were naïve at the time and set out to still do that kind of rock but different and better. I moved on quickly, to be honest.

I listened to The Domino Effect recently for the first time in YEARS and I heard something I didn’t want to hear underneath all the cringe in my memories. I heard focus. I hear me giving 100% at 15 years old. Granted, the songs are naïve, a bit immature and basic. There’s a lot of mimicking. I was not as proficient on guitar or vocally as I am now (vocally, I remember making the conscious choice to roughen up and throw my voice intentionally which was... a choice to say the least. I was 15. If only I used my natural voice). And the production was bad (again, I was 15. First time ever recording a project all the way through. First time for everything). I didn’t know a drummer and didn’t drum myself so I mapped out the patterns on a DM1 drum machine app on my iPod Touch. They’re rough demos at best. But the songwriting, and the project's scope as a whole, had focus for what it was. I like how a sense of character is naturally present. It’s the thing that I chase every time I make music. That was the project that made me go “This is what I do. This is who I am as a person. I want to make this work for me. I want to be better at this.” And for being made when I was completely self taught and never had done anything before, I now admire the songwriting on “The Domino Effect” in the way you admire the beginning. It reminds me that I pursued music for a real reason. I realize now I never thought I was good. I never wanted to be the best. I don’t think of it in terms like that. I just always knew what I was capable of. I always chased that. I still do.

The songwriting on The Domino Effect was lost in time, buried under terrible packaging and released right when my personal life started to slip. But I remember the good now. I remember the focus. I’m thinking about my next project. I have a lot of different ideas right now, I'm just trying to be mindful about where to go next. I want to live some life before I sit down and make anything else, I burnt myself out making “Never Doing That Again”. Right now I’m mostly chilling, practicing, thinking of ideas but not taking any of it too seriously just yet.

So that’s where I am. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather this year.]

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